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ALFALFA.   I I j

flower will thus be hit and his body powdered with pollen. When visiting another flower the same thing happens; the pistil comes in contact with the pollen on the body of the insect. The pistil is thus fertilized and more pollen is deposited on the insect. It is evident that cross-fertilization must frequently occur. As an insect will probably visit many flowers of a plant and travel from one plant to another, an individual may be fertilized by its own pollen as well as by pollen from another. Whether self- or cross-fertilization is most beneficial has, however, not yet been proved. Should a flower not be visited by any insect strong enough to open it, it will not be fertilized, not being able to explode by itself. The production of seed thus depends largely upon insects. The weather is also a factor, the flowers being almost insensible in cold, rainy weather, whereas in sunshine they will promptly respond to the slightest irritation. In common Red Clover the stamens and pistil gradually resume their original positions; as their elasticity is not affected by one or two visits, there is always a chance for proper fertilization. In Alfalfa there is no second chance; if an insect's first visit has no effect, the flower will not produce seed. After the pollen has been discharged, the pistil does not turn back to its original position; its top remains firmly appressed to the standard of the flower. It therefore develops into a curved fruit, although it is perfectly straight so long as it is enclosed within the flower. Its bending, which starts with the explosion of the flower, increases with its growth, and when the fruit is ripe it has the shape of a twisted shell.

Geographical distribution and history: The home of Alfalfa is Asia, probably the southwestern parts. It has been grown in Persia from time immemorial and is perhaps the oldest forage plant in the world. It was highly esteemed as fodder for horses, its Persian name meaning horse fodder. From Persia it was brought to Greece about 500 B.C., whence it spread to Italy. It was introduced to western Europe by way of northern Africa. The Arabs carried the plant to Spain in the seventh century. From Spain it was introduced into France. It is now grown in all European countries except the most northern. It was introduced by the Spaniards into Mexico, whence it spread to the western United States and to South America, and by the English and other colonists to the eastern parts of North America. It is now cultivated all over the United States. In Canada it is confined to small areas, southern Ontario and southern Alberta being the two districts where it is grown extensively.

Origin of name: Alfalfa is a Spanish version of the Arabian "Alfacfacah" which means "The best sort of fodder." Some have


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